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Published Mar 17, 2022 9:29 AM

If you’re like me and hate running but need to do something for cardio, a punching bag might be the solution for you. Replace that 10 or 15 minutes on a treadmill with a few three-minute rounds dancing with the bag. Get your heart pumping and unleash your frustration on 100 pounds of leather and sand swinging from the ceiling. 

In this article, we’re giving you a look at the best punching bags on the market. Here’s what you need to know.

The Outslayer 100-pound Heavy Bag might be too much for some people. It’s a premium-made heavy-duty bag made less for the enthusiasts and more for the dedicated trainer. If you’re just looking to spice up your cardio, you might not need a bag this well-made and well-built. If you want the most durable, long-lasting bag to soak up kicks, punches, elbows, and your totally legit lightsaber techniques, then this is the bag to go with. It’s made for MMA gyms where the bags get destroyed by actual fighters on the daily. This big, beastly bag will take whatever abuse you can throw at it.

It’s made entirely from vinyl and filled with compressed cotton. The heavy-duty straps are sewn directly onto the bag, which eliminates the need for chains. Four heavy-duty straps allow you to anchor it almost anywhere and the steel D-rings ensure it stays hung. The Outslayer uses a quadruple backstitch that’s done by hand for superior durability and design. The bag comes filled and ready to hang. Its 55-inch long body and 12-inch straps make it just right for both throwing punches and kicks. It mimics a toned and conditioned opponent and never develops rock-hard heavy spots or hollows.

The Outslayer will hold up and last and last and last. If you’re interested in fighting beyond a good workout or need to equip a gym, then this is the route to take.

Specs
  • Weight: 100 pounds
  • Length of bag: 55 inches
  • External material: Vinyl
PROS

Unbeatable durability

Works for kicks and punches

10-year warranty

CONS

Expensive

For all that you get, the Everlast MMA Heavy Bag Kit delivers great value. It comes with a 70-pound heavy bag, a pair of boxing gloves, and hand wraps — everything you need to get started.

While the gloves aren’t made for competition, they are enough for hitting the bag. The 108-inch wraps and a quick Youtube tutorial will protect your wrists as well. It’s a simple setup that can get you moving. Tack on the included bungee cord, and the bag will move less and take more hits without complaint.

The Everlast bag is plenty tough for repeated use and daily training. The satisfying smack as your hand hits the poly canvas material will want to make you keep hitting it. The bungee cord helps make up for the bag’s lighter weight. That lighter weight might also be more convenient when it comes time to hang the bag.

The Everlast MMA bundle gives you all the basic necessities to start your workout without any of the drama of buying it piece by piece. It will take you a long way on not a lot of money.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 70 pounds
  • Length of bag: 41 inches
  • External material: Polycanva
PROS

Great price

Adjustable chain to customize height

Compatible with anchors and stands

CONS

Lightweight bag offers less of a workout

Editor’s Choice

My favorite punching bag isn’t even a bag, it’s a dude named “Bob.” Of course, the name is an acronym that stands for Body Opponent Bag. BOB is constructed from soft rubber-like material molded to look like the head and torso of a man. This standing punching bag allows you to work on accuracy as you throw jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts.

The soft material makes it easy to use without gloves, plus you can work angles and footwork with the gun. Plus, you can adjust the height of the BOB to make him match your own or to practice fighting a bigger guy — or a child, I know how elementary school can be.

As a standing bag, you fill this thug with sand or water and embrace the hate. It’s simple, but effective, and is a key part of my outdoor home gym. I love striking BOB and use him for workouts, warmups, and stress relief.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 270 pounds when filled with sand
  • Length of bag: 60 to 78 inches tall
  • External material: Vinyl
PROS

Realistic design

Soft design doesn’t tear your hands up

Adjustable height

CONS

Expensive

Difficult to set up

Best Free-Standing Punching Bag

Premium best describes massive free-standing punching bags like the RIF6. It combines multi-layer construction to provide a rock-solid punching target that’s covered with a PVC synthetic layer. The layers include the outer PVC leather, then EPE foam, a fiber buffer, and then a coated stainless steel pipe. It’s simple, but effective, and long-lasting.

The RIF6 bag also uses a built-in set of shock absorbers at the base of the unit to provide a rebounding target that not only helps protect your hands from damage, but also guarantees a long-lasting design. At a little over 68 inches tall and 12.6 inches wide, the RIF6 presents a nice-sized punching bag for a variety of training types. With the base filled with sand, it weighs 195 pounds, and the 12 suction cups ensure it’s secured to the ground.

The RIF6 presents a well-made professional-grade standing bag built for use indoors. The design even allows it to be moved relatively easily by tilting and rolling the base. It’s well-thought-out and well-suited for fight training or a workout.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 195 pounds with sand
  • Length of bag: 68.9 inches
  • External material: PVC synthetic leather
PROS

Shock-absorbing base allows it to rebound

Perfect for indoor sse

Simple setup

CONS

Need leg protectors for kicks

Expensive

Best Water-Filled Punching Bag

The Aqua brand has pioneered water-filled punching bags in various sizes from the 120-pound variant here, to a 75-pound lightweight and 190-pound monster. The unique teardrop shape allows you to use the bag for power punches like hooks and uppercuts. Setup is easy and the device is fairly portable since it takes only a few minutes to fill and hang.

The Aqua Training bag provides an 18-inch target that absorbs blow after blow without issue. It’s a waterbed for your fists. The HD Vinyl allows for use indoors and out without issue with UV resistance and a tear-proof design. While leaks might be something to fear, it’s built so the only way that’ll happen is if you stab or slash it with a blade. Hard spots will also never develop, which can quickly end a training session and provide anything from a bruise to a serious injury.

The Aqua bag provides a unique alternative to the standard bag. The versatile setup comes in different colors as well multiple weights. It can be combined with stands or hang from an anchored point. It’s remarkably portable, setup is easy, and you can get it going in mere minutes. A hose, a faucet, and a hook are all you need.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 120 pounds
  • Length: 18 inches
  • External material: Thick-walled vinyl
PROS

Easier on the joints

Modular with sensors, stands, and stabilizers

Quick and easy setup

CONS

Not as tall as standard bags

Tough to kick

Best Heavy Punching Bag

If you are a heavyweight looking to compete or take your training to the next level, then a 100-pound bag likely isn’t cutting it. The Prolast 200-pound punching bag certainly puts the “heavy” in a heavy bag. This behemoth will let you wail like Mike Tyson in his prime.

It’s massive and made for professional use rather than hobbyist exercise. It’s priced accordingly and built to take on heavyweight blows. The exterior is made from Rip-Stop, and inside sits nothing but cotton fabric (no sand or sawdust filler). A quadruple backstitch holds it all together.

The five-foot height makes it well-suited for both punches and kicks in case you need to Chuck Liddell the thing with a few low kicks. Instead of chains, you get fibrous straps that kill rattling and help limit swinging. These nylon straps are as strong as seat belts and are also waterproof.

The bag is super strong, durable, and it barely moves between hits and doesn’t give much. You can rip into this thing daily and it won’t tap out. The Prolast heavy bag is absolutely massive, and while niche, it’s a solution to a problem that will last for decades of heavy use.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 200 pounds
  • Length of bag: 60 inches
  • External material: Rip-Stop
PROS

Incredibly durable

Cotton-filled

Professional grade

CONS

Expensive

Niche design

Best Punching Bag for Martial Arts

Martial arts requires a variety of moves that break away from the normal punches boxers throw. Throwing kicks both low and high, elbows, knees, and more are all common in martial arts. To accommodate a wider variety of moves, we need a bag built to take those hits. The Ringside 100-pound Muay Thai bag provides exactly that.

The Ringside bag stands six feet tall, which makes it perfect for implementing kicks and knee strikes, as well as punches, elbows, and more. It’s rather skinny with a 13-inch diameter, so you can move around the bag and throw a variety of blows like punches, elbows, kicks, and knees — really, any combination you can think of.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 100 pounds
  • Length: 72 inches
  • External material: Powerhide
PROS

Tall

Easy to implement multiple moves with

Affordable

CONS

No floor anchor option

Height makes it tough to use a stand

Best Smart Punching Bag

FightCamp is like the Peloton of punching bags. It’s a standing punching bag that mixes both a punching bag with an all-in-one training system that makes this a “smart” punching bag. It joins the internet of things with smart light bulbs, smartphones, and hell, smart beds. FightCamp offers you follow-along workouts with experienced fight trainers, performance evaluations, and hell, they packed a playlist and radio in there, too.

It’s a rock-solid design that uses a base that can weigh up to 350 pounds when filled with sand. It’s a setup that really targets the at-home gym owner who wants to hit the bag right but isn’t trying to be a fighter. It’s a great way to learn and the workouts are easy to understand and challenging.

The device can be set up to work with tracking devices that can be inserted into the wraps of your gloves. They can measure your speed, power, and more. It’s a setup unlike any other and it shows just how far fitness equipment has come.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 350 pounds
  • Length of bag: 67 inches
  • External material: Vinyl
PROS

Provides workouts

Measures performance

Stores easily

CONS

Expensive initial investment

Expensive subscription required

Best Double-End Bag

Speed, rhythm, and accuracy are all must-have skills in the world of boxing. The double-end bag teaches that. The Ringside double-end bag is well-made and capable of lasting through thousands of punches, and it comes in various sizes, including the nine-, seven-, and five-inch models.

It’s made entirely from leather, giving it the old-school look and feel without breaking the bank. The top and bottom loops are triple reinforced which is critical because that’s the weak point for these bags. There are also top and bottom loops to secure the double end bag to the floor and an anchor.

The Ringside double end bag improves fighter skills, but is also an affordable combat-type fitness tool that will get your heart racing. It’s a small piece of gear that works even in an apartment-sized home gym. Plus, for the quality level, the price isn’t bad by any means.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 1.08 pounds
  • Length: 5, 7, or 9 inches
  • External material: Leather
PROS

Affordable

Multiple sizes

Reinforced loops

CONS

Included bungee wears out quickly

Best Speed Bag

The Everlast Everhide doesn’t break ground or innovate the speed bag, but it doesn’t have to. It’s a simplistic design that’s made to last. The material is synthetic leather that holds up to constant abuse.

Everlast offers good, quality home gym gear. It might not make it in a pro-MMA gym, but it will work in your garage for years without issue. Plus, for the price, it’s fairly affordable and gives beginners a great little speed bag to get the ball rolling on their cardio and coordination.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 6 ounces
  • Length of bag: 9 inches
  • External material: Synthetic leather
PROS

Affordable

Durable design

Easy to use

CONS

Not professional-grade

Why you should trust us

I credit punching bag workouts for getting me into shape ahead of boot camp. Since then, I have always kept one hung up inside of wherever I live, from the barracks to my house. These days, I have three different bags set up inside my home gym. Over the years, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t in a punching bag. 

In this guide, I included bag options for a variety of combat sports, but what they all have in common is that they can take a beating. One of the main things to think about before buying a bag is durability and design because you’re purposely going to beat the hell out of it, so it needs to stand up to that abuse. 

In researching this subject, I examined gear I own and use, interviewed multiple martial artists, and read other independent reviews. What you see in this guide is the result of that effort.

Types of punching bags

While there are different styles of punching bags, which vary by how you’re supposed to strike them, the types of punching bags we’re covering here involve how you set them up. 

Hanging

A hanging bag is most likely what you picture when you think about a punching bag. It hangs from an anchor from above and dangles using chains or straps. Most hanging bags will swing during your workout and force you to move accordingly. The really heavy ones — usually designed for power punching — need more force to move, so they won’t swing as much. 

Additionally, if you have a bag lighter than 70 pounds and you don’t want it to swing, or you have something like a double-end bag, you should anchor it to the floor as well as the ceiling.   

Standing

A standing punching bag eliminates the need for an anchor point or hanging stand. They are stationary bags that are built onto a base that stabilizes them. That base is filled with sand or water to ensure not even One-Punch Man can knock it down. 

Standing bags can be a great alternative to hanging bags when your space is limited or you might live somewhere you are not allowed or cannot safely anchor a punching bag. A standing bag can be tucked into a corner and only pulled out when needed. 

Key features of punching bags 

When you start shopping for a punching bag, you should consider weight and length, internal material, and finally shape and design. 

Weight and length

The weight and length of the bag determine how much resistance it offers and what body parts you can engage with. Heavier bags offer a tougher workout and more resistance to each punch. A heavier bag allows you to throw heavy and hard punches without sending the bag swinging away. 

The length, or height, determines what moves you can bust out. A short bag works well for just punches, elbows, and the like, but longer or taller bags allow you to work in kicks and knees alongside your punches and elbows. 

At the same time, this requires more room to mount, a higher cost, and heavier-duty anchors or taller stands to work and function. 

Internal Material 

The inside of a punching bag contains one of three materials: sand, cloth, or water. 

  • Sand — or gravel — is heavy and hard, but also the least expensive.
  • Cloth, or compressed cloth, makes the best material for a standard punching bag because it doesn’t anchor or harden. 
  • Water allows for more absorption at impact and is less injury-prone than other materials. The downside is potential leakage, and still, water gets gross long-term.

Note that the inside of a speed bag or double-end bag contains a rubber bladder, which you pump up like a basketball. 

Shape and design

The design and shape of most bags is a cylinder, and a cylinder works great for normal punches and kicks. However, they’re not as intuitive for strikes like uppercuts. Some punching bags use an angular top or overly angular design that allows for a bevy of different blows and opens up the versatility of a punching bag at an increased price. 

Benefits of punching bags

When you spend a few rounds hitting a punching bag, you can get a full-body workout that improves both cardio and strength — and not to mention stress management.

Cardio

Well, well, well, big surprise we’d end up here again. Yep, hitting the bag and working your mitts helps increase your cardiovascular endurance, burns calories, and keeps your ticker ticking. A punching bag does a miraculous job of giving you a cardio workout without having to put miles under your belt. 

Combative training 

Throwing a punch is a lot like driving a stick shift. It’s something everyone should know how to do and something that takes deliberate practice. A punching bag gives you something to actually punch and hit. This allows you to practice your punches and improve your defensive capabilities.

Hand-eye coordination 

Learning how to throw a punch is a great way to improve your hand-eye coordination. Working the bag will easily improve your hand-eye skills and give you an edge in all manners of sports and life. 

Improved strength 

Hitting the bag is a light resistance workout that can improve strength. You’d be surprised at how sore a good bag session can leave you. Hitting the bag will work your arms, chest, back, shoulders, legs, hips, and even your core. 

Punching bags pricing

Budget

Budget-grade bags can cost anywhere from $70 to $100 and are typically 50- to 70-pound bags. They are typically made from poly canvas and filled with a combination of sand and gravel-like material with a fibrous inner material. These are perfect for casual workouts and at-home setups. 

Mid-range

These bags are where we get into the higher end for home hitters. For $100 to $200, you can find a nice hanging or standing bag weighing anywhere up to 150 pounds. They’re suited for serious workouts and hardcore at-home gym owners. 

Premium

For more than $200, you can find extra heavy bags, bags made from higher-end materials like vinyl or leather, or smart punching bags, which are built with sensors that guide or track your progress. They’ll be able to take some serious abuse by fighters of any skill level. It’s a buy-once cry-once kind of deal.

FAQs on punching bags

You’ve got questions, Task & Purpose has answers.

Q: Which material is best for punching bags?

A: Mechanically compressed textiles resist moisture and implement an even design for solid punches. It resists anchoring and hardening over time. 

Q: What punching bags do professionals use?

A: Professional fighters use a variety of bags — heavy bags, double-end bags, speed bags, power punch bags, etc. — and the specific brand they use varies depending on where they train. Some fighters use whatever bags their gym carries or use bags provided by a sponsor. 

Q: Are gloves necessary for punching bags?

A: Yes. You should wear gloves or some kind of protection if you plan on striking a bag for exercise. If you don’t, you risk damaging or injuring your hands or wrists. 

Q: Can you kick a punching bag?

A: Yes, you can kick a punching bag, but know that some heavy bags are specifically designed for kicking, so the best practice is to understand how to use your equipment before doing something you’re unsure about. 

Q: Do punching bags build muscle?

A: Not really. A punching bag will help you tone muscle in addition to giving you a cardiovascular workout, but it won’t help you build muscle like, say, weightlifting.  

Q: Are MMA gloves good for punching bags?

A: Yes, but you should understand your equipment before doing something you’re unsure about. Boxing gloves typically offer more padding and protection for your hands and wrists than MMA gloves, which are designed for grappling as well. 

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​​Travis Pike is a former Marine machine gunner who served with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines for five years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army. He plays in the great outdoors of Northwest Florida and enjoys good beer, sharp knives, and long walks in the woods.

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